Keep Your Pets Away From Toads

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A reminder from The Humane Society of Southern Arizona:

Summer rains bring out Colorado River toads (also known as Sonoran Desert toads). The toads are large with a flat, broad head and leathery skin sparsely covered with pale orange warts. They vary in color from dark brown to olive or grayish green. They also have round white warts at the corners of the mouth and large, granular glands covering the neck and limbs. Colorado River toads secrete a sticky, milky-white, neurotoxin and cardiotoxin from their skin that can be lethal. Signs that your pet may have had contact with these toads include:

  • severe irritation to eyes and nose, dilated pupils
  • extremely dark pink or red gums
  • foaming at the mouth or excessive drooling
  • staggering or a "sawhorse" type stance
  • paralysis, seizures and even death

Heart irregularities often develop and can result in death in less than 30 minutes after contact. If your pet has had contact with these toads and exhibit any of these symptoms, carefully flush their mouth with water in an outward direction so they do not swallow the toxin and seek immediate veterinary care.

Additional tips include:

  • Keep cats indoors; keep dogs on leashes and closely supervised during walks
  • Ensure that pets have the protection of walls or fences in their yard, access to a safe structure such as a doghouse or pet door, and plentiful shade and fresh water
  • Keep pet water bowls up off the ground to prevent toads from getting in
  • Enroll your dog in toad avoidance training

For more information on these and other animal care issues, call 327-6088; visit the Humane Society of Southern Arizona at 3450 North Kelvin Boulevard, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week; or visit the HSSA Web site at http://www.hssaz.org.

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